An international humanitarian organization warned on Monday the lack of basic sanitation facilities in overcrowded displacement camps will cause fresh cholera outbreak in northeast Nigeria.
In a statement reaching Xinhua on Monday, the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) called for action to be taken to prevent the looming threat in the northeast part of Nigeria, which hosts camps for people affected by displacement as a result of incessant attacks by the terror group Boko Haram.
“If the camps are not decongested and sanitation facilities improved, cholera will inevitably return, and vulnerable displaced people will bear the brunt of the epidemic again,” warned Eric Batonon, NRC’s country director for Nigeria.
According to figures from the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, in 2018, 50,719 suspected cholera cases from 30 states were reported.
The NRC warned the epidemic could spread even more rapidly this year as a recent wave of forced displacements had led to the overcrowding of camps.
Following a rise of violence in late 2018 forcing over 100,000 people to flee, displacement camps and sites are overcrowded, Batonon said.
This has resulted in a deterioration of the living conditions and a lack of sanitation facilities.
“For instance, 466 people are sharing one latrine at one of the displacement camps in the state of Borno,” said Batonon quoting a report from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
This is nine times above the agreed humanitarian standards, which is set at 50 people per latrine in emergency situations, he said.
“As a result of lack of sanitation, people choose to defecate in the open, exacerbating an already vulnerable situation and increasing the likelihood of the spread of disease,” Batonon said.
He urged Nigerian authorities to provide additional land to develop decongestion plans and to enable the construction of new water and sanitation facilities.